A new generation of the Suzuki Ertiga has been unveiled in Indonesia this week. The 7-seater MPV, which first appeared in India in 2012, has undergone a complete styling change which is said to now give it an image of strength and elegance. The grille is more dominant with its mesh design while the shoulder lines have been defined more clearly.

The 130 mm longer body sits on Suzuki’s HEARTECT platform which is also used for a few of the latest models, including the 4th generation Swift. First used in 2015, its architecture has reduced weight to improve fuel economy while being more rigid for better handling, ride comfort and protection.

Inside, the basic layout has gained more refinement with a sculpted dashboard and large wooden pattern accents. The aim of the interior designers for this new generation has been to upgrade the image of the Ertiga. The longer body provides a more spacious cabin with additional luggage space.

A new powertrain with an engine displacement of 1462 cc is now used. The K15B DOHC petrol engine, with variable valve timing and multipoint EFI, produces 104.7 ps/138 Nm. 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions are available.

The suspension is quite straightforward with MacPherson struts in front and a torsion beam axle at the rear. Due to the varied road conditions in Indonesia, particularly in rural areas, the engineers have given the Ertiga a generous ground clearance of 180 mm.

As before, the new Ertiga will manufactured in Indonesia with some of the production also to be exported regionally. Another production hub for the model is India, which also exports some production to other countries.

1st generation of the Ertiga was launched in 2012. Proton’s version (right) was introduced for the Malaysian market at the end of 2016.

Proton also had an agreement with Suzuki Motor to assemble the first generation of the Ertiga for the Malaysian market, adding a smaller MPV to its range. Between the time of its launch in November 2016 and the end of 2017, some 8,000 units were assembled at the Tg. Malim factory. Now that Proton has Geely as its shareholder, we won’t be seeing a follow-up of the Ertiga as the relationship with Suzuki would no longer be necessary.

It’s not known how long the Ertiga will continue to be produced by Proton and it would be dependent on how long Suzuki will be willing to continue to supply parts for local assembly. As a full turnover of the Proton range with Geely’s involvement will take another few years, keeping every current model available would be vital to the business in the short term.

Unless Suzuki decides to return to the Malaysian market (having given up its 4-wheeler sales to show its support for the Ertiga deal), we are unlikely to see the new Ertiga here.

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[Chips Yap]

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